HARD TIMES ARE BLESSED TIMES.†††††††††††† By Pastor Yau

Genesis 26:1-33†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† September 28, 2003



†††††† The life stories of the Patriots in the Bible, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, amazed many of us.Even though God was proud of these men by identified Himself with names of these men, He did not spare them from the troubles of life.If we think we can buy blessings from God by being good, we donít understand this God who has plans and ideas way beyond our imagination.Genesis 26 tells us many of the difficulties, some of them outright unfair, happened to Isaac, the most meek, humble and gentle of them all.



†††††† God seldom stops revealing Himself to men.In the Old Testament time, God appeared thru visions and dreams to many individuals and to the nation of Israel thru His servants, judges and prophets.He chose to reveal Himself to men in New Testament time thru Jesus Christ, and to the people of the church thru His Holy Scriptures.Many people do not hear Him not because God doesnít speak, but they do not hear.People were either too occupied with their agendas and business or think they can handle themselves without the interference of God. Sadly, even some Christians have that mentality when things are going well in their lives. It is in the pit of life, when nothing they try would work, they then have the heart and ear to hear God.

†††††† God is always eager to show us His plans, direct our paths and brings us to His care. How often we are just too smart or too proud to run our own lives without God.Some times, God will allow us to head the wrong way, until we realize He is God and are willing to listen.



†††††† In times of a famine, God told Isaac not to go to Egypt but to Gerar.All people at that time knew that Egypt was the place to go when faced with famines as Abraham did. (Gen. 12:10) And Gerar was in the middle of the desert where no one would like to go even in good time, much less in time of a famine.But that was exactly where God wanted Isaac to go, and thatís where Isaac did go. (26:6) Then what happened?God kept His promise, blessed Isaac, and he had a huge harvest of a hundredfold.

†††††† Even though we realize that we donít knew what future will hold, but many of us are smart enough to make BETTER choice than what God intends for us. If we were Isaacs, I bet we all will argue with or remind God that Gerar is a BAD choice, especially in time of famine. This has to do with our little faith in God, to trust His love and wisdom in making choices for us. Doubting God and His love is a sin we oftentimes commit and the main reason of missing many of His blessings.



†††††† When Isaac was blessed with huge harvest and his wealth continued to grow and became very rich, his neighbors, the Philistines became so jealous and went ahead to drive him out. (26:14-16) As Isaac and his family gave in and retreated from place to place, the Philistines wonít give them peace.They followed him to make him suffered even more by taking over their lifeline---the wells they dug out and filled up those dug by his father earlier.They want Isaac and his family dead, destroyed.

†††††† If you compare the three patriots, Abraham, Isaac and his son Jacob, Isaac is the most humble, gentle and peaceful man.Many of us often think that if I do right to others, they will do right to me, but things may not happen that way.It certainly didnít happen that way to Isaac.The way Isaac handled this kind of unfair and troublesome situation deserves our attention: let go and no fight.He moved, moved and moved again when pushed by his enemies, until he came to this place where God appeared to him and promised him more blessings again. (26:24) I am no promoting blind pacifism. What I want to promote is trust God for all that happen to us, believing that He knows and He will make it right some day. He always does.

†† ††††Finally, the Philistines came to Isaac to make peace and he treated them with grace, forgiveness and dignity. (26:26-31) And on that same day, his servants reported to him they had found a well with living water, (v.32) another sign of Godís blessing.



†††††† Jesus said in John 16:33 ďIn this world, you shall have tribulations (problems, pain, suffering, unfair treatments and others), but in me you will have peace.ĒAll people live in this sinful planet will have tribulations.The difference is those who believe in God have God to go thru all these, while those who do not have God will have to handle everything themselves.God is always in charge of all things, good and bad. Come to Him and trust His love. He will carry you thru. He always will. Trust Him.


(Note: SOUL FOOD is a summary of sermons presented at FCBC, Memphis, by Pastor Kenny Yau on the day the message was preached.Pray that the Lord will use His words to encourage, build up, strengthen and may be correct His saints as well as those who are seeking to know Him.)